Good news comes for bond issue projects
Signs are pointed in the right direction when it comes to large dollar figures on the Baldwin School District bond issue projects.
Two signs were on display Monday night at the Baldwin School Board meeting. First, bids on the first two projects came in more than $400,000 under the original budget. Second, the district could be in line for a $4 million grant to help construct a tornado-safe supercenter.
“Of course I’m pleased that the bids came in under budget,” Supt. Paul Dorathy said. “It’s much easier to work from that position.”
Representatives from DLR Group, an architectural firm hired for the bond issue, and Manning Construction, the construction management group for the projects, updated the board at the meeting. Doug Loveland came for DLR and Gabe Manning spoke for Manning Construction.
“We got about five bids per bid package,” Manning said. “That’s a pretty good number of bids per package. We recommend going with the low bid on each bid package. We have worked with many of these companies and the ones we haven’t, we contacted references and made sure their bids qualified. We will be working with all of the companies throughout the process.”
The school board approved the recommended low bids with a unanimous 7-0 vote. The Baldwin Junior High School renovations approved bids that were around $400,000 less than the proposed cost of $1,235,726.
Those renovations include a new heating and cooling system, new roof to part of the building and improvements to the corridors in sections of the building.
“We are so pleased the bids came in low,” School Board President Alison Bauer said. “We would like to do all of the alternates we can, because we had some really attractive things that were packaged in there. Hopefully, the bids will keep coming in low.”
The athletic complexes bids also came in lower than expected, but only by about 1 percent. The bids totaled $2,759,984 and the original estimate was $2,783,045.
Those bids include the new baseball and softball field complex near Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center and the new practice track facility north of Baldwin High School.
Board Member Scott Lauridsen asked why the athletic bids didn’t come in as far under budget as the BJHS renovations. Dorathy and Loveland said there were two reasons for the differences.
They said, first, the BJHS project was slightly scaled back, because part of the area that was to be improved will be under construction when the new performing arts center is attached to the building. The second reason is that a concessions building and track surfacing were added to the athletic bids.
The other big news out of Monday’s meeting was the potential grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the new performing arts center. The school board has agreed to build safe rooms in the new building and the new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center.
The architects are saying the performing arts center building might become one large safe room, which will be able to withstand tornadoes.
“Approximately, what’s been applied for is $4 million,” Dorathy said. “That would be 75 percent of the funding to build this super structure that protects about 1,800 people from tornadoes. We are getting significantly more for this project than we would have, thanks to the FEMA grant.”
Planning of the auditorium is still in preliminary stages, while the new BESPC is slightly further along. Loveland did say he wants to bid the land work for the new school before the rest of the project is bid this summer.
“Good news. This is great news,” Bauer said.